Samuel Gassmann, founder of the eponymous range of cufflinks, did not spend his youth obsessing about cufflinks. ‘I’d never worn a pair,’ he says with a Gallic shrug. ‘I always found them to be rather kitsch… and badly made, too.’
He only began to take an interest in them while working on a documentary about the last mother-of-pearl factory. The film was never made, but seven years ago his first collection was launched. What started as a bit of fun soon had Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus calling.
His cufflinks come in two forms – the Archetype and the Cabochon. The Archetype design is a nod to the sew-on button – the men’s models with four holes, the women’s with two. The Cabochon, with no holes, is elegant simplicity itself. Gassmann enjoys the idea of the appropriate cufflink being used for different occasions. White mother-of-pearl for daytime use; grey mother-of-pearl with eveningwear or for cocktails; team colours for sport; white porcelain for more formal events.
‘Making cufflinks is a bit like curating an art collection. You create objects to tell a story,’ he explains. His aesthetic is particularly influenced by early 20th century Modernism. ‘I’m curious about this movement, which wanted to simplify everything to better understand the world.’
Every pair of cufflinks is unique, being entirely handmade in France, and each comes with a card detailing what they are made from as well as the provenance of the materials.
Gassmann has also recreated ‘Les liens rigids’, a series of symmetrical rings in a style that was popular before the 20th century.
"Making cufflinks is a bit like curating an art collection. You create objects to tell a story."Samuel Gassmann